Monday, April 13, 2015

Cover Reveal! Zombies in Love by Nora Fleischer




Jack Kershaw just wants to hold on to his new job at Lisa Alioto's pizza parlor, and to keep Lisa from finding out that he's a zombie. But Jack learns that he and Lisa are in serious danger. His second chance at life is the inadvertent result of a lab experiment by two graduate students, and Winthrop University-- a school which knows how to keep its secrets-- will do anything necessary to conceal that someone on campus raised the dead. With the help of Boston's zombie horde, can Jack and Lisa escape Winthrop's sinister clutches?

Excerpt:

All the peace that had come over Jack in the morgue was gone. Even though he was jogging back to Lisa’s apartment-- and getting some strange looks because he was wearing a set of scrubs and a pair of flip-flops he’d liberated from the hospital-- he felt a terrible restlessness. Like he couldn’t be still, ever again.

No, that wasn’t it-- he felt the sort of prickly awareness of a mouse being watched by a owl. It felt as though something was after him, something with a stride matching his own, something that reached out with a pale cold hand...

He reached the door of Lisa’s apartment, thudded up the stairs, and pounded at the closed door. She opened it like she’d been waiting next to it for hours. Out the door came the rosy scent of her body, the heat of her, and in the center of the candle flame, Lisa’s beautiful daredevil smile.

"You're back! How'd it go? I dropped off the satchel, just like we planned, and the guy seemed to know exactly what it was for," she said. He followed her in. "I’ve never done anything like that in my life. Wasn’t that crazy, wasn’t that wild?"

"Stick with me, honey," he said. "We’ll have fun."

She smiled and squeezed his bare upper arm roughly enough for him to feel it. Heat seared his cold skin. "And tomorrow, we go back to work, and I know I’m going to be standing there, giving people their pizza and thinking, ‘All you people, you don’t know a damn thing about me, you don’t know what I’ve been up to.’ Me and my secret life."

And then it all made sense. He knew what he wanted. He reached up and kissed her. For a moment she seemed surprised, but then she pressed closer to him, and he became aware of how thin his scrubs were, and that her body heat flew through them as if he were naked. And the way her mouth tasted! He could feel it over his tongue, the unique taste of her body, as if it was sinking into his body, changing all of his cells, drawing a little of her into him, forever...

"You smell like lilacs," he said, "did I ever tell you that? Like lilacs and cinnamon. And you’re so warm."


The book is available at http://www.amazon.com/Zombies-Love-Nora-Fleischer-ebook/dp/B00NUA5CJQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8


 

Bio: Nora Fleischer has a PhD from Winthrop University, and promises every word of this story is true. She lives in Minneapolis with her lovable husband Sven and children Wolfgang and Anastasia. She’s on Twitter as @zombinanora and blogs (sometimes) at norafleischer.livejournal.com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools for Love


April Fools for Love


Welcome to the SFR Station April Fools for Love event! I'm super excited to be a part of this blog hop, as fools in love are so fun to read and write. For my entry in this event, I've decided to include an excerpt from my Fracture War series work in progress.

This particular excerpt shows two characters, Ander and Zerra, as they are starting to admit to themselves that they like each other. They are mechanical beings in opposite factions, Gathons vs Skellyds, of a civil war that is tearing their planet, Beryl, apart. They first met after a horrific event both factions have dubbed 'The Vega Massacre.' During the massacre, Zerra lost her core-mate, her lifelong partner. As a result, she is suffering from an imbalance in her systems that could eventually kill her. The events of the following excerpt occur many years after her mate's death.

Both are doctors, but Zerra finds herself as a patient of Ander's. She tries to hide her true ailing condition from him, but he figures it out and does the most extreme procedure a Beryllian doctor could perform on a fellow Beryllian patient. He connects his own systems with hers in order to try and re-write the corrupted coding that is making her severely ill. In doing so, he finds that she is also suffering from extreme energy deprivation and transfers all his energy to her in order to keep her functioning.

She thinks he's a fool for going to such great lengths to help her and he thinks she's a fool for believing she doesn't deserve to live.

Without further ado, on to the excerpt! Check out the posts of all the wonderful authors listed above. My excerpt runs a little long, so if you're in a hurry now, you could come back later. The event lasts all month long! Browse around all the posts at your leisure and enter in the Rafflecopter giveaway below. 

Enjoy this event all month long on Facebook too: https://www.facebook.com/events/1545629019032391/

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Zerra came out of quiescence with a start. She was disoriented. Someone's hand rested on her chest-plating and she could feel ex-vented air near her audio. The weight of the hand felt nice. The next thing she realized was that she was not in pain. Yet, she knew she wasn't waking from a nightmare and that this wasn't her core-mate, as the intense lonely void of losing Gren was still an abyss in her core. Taking air into her own vents, she turned her head to look at whoever it was.

It was Ander. The events of the previous cycle hit her processor all at once...Ander finding her and, doing nothing less than what would be expected of any doctor, helping her. Not sure if she was grateful or not, her pump raced. She would have died if he hadn't established full integration.

Wouldn't she rather be dead? Though, she did feel better after having been able to get some sleep and the fact that he was blocking the pain was a welcome change.

Still fully connected, she could feel traces of his core through the connection. Without a core bond, she would never be able to feel his core fully, but she could catch a sense of it through a full interface such as the one they had. His core was so different from her core-mate's, yet strangely comforting.

Zerra's next alarming thought was what he might have accessed while she was in such a vulnerable state. She had been entirely too weak to block anything from him. She quickly ran a systems check to see what all he'd done. What she found surprised her.

Other than what he needed to help repair her failing systems, he didn't access anything at all. He didn't try to find any useful information that could be used against the Skellyds. He didn't look at one memory. All he got was what couldn't be avoided, since thoughts always drifted through integrated connections. He hadn't even taken advantage of her. Not one line of pleasure code had been touched.

Most Skellyds she knew would have jumped at the chance. A Skell would have helped her, but he would have taken what he wanted for his trouble. Maybe Gathons were more honorable, maybe they weren't, but she didn't feel at all as violated as she thought she'd feel while integrated with one.

Of course, having been a Skellyd, she didn't feel compelled, as Ander obviously did, not to sneak a peak at a few things. She didn't like the idea of someone snooping around her files, but she wasn't against doing it herself. Like she said to Miaxa, she never said she wasn't a hypocrite.

Zerra just wanted to get a sense of who Ander truly was. She would respect his memories and leave them alone, just as he had done for her, though the temptation was undeniable.

She accessed a directory on his characterization. Ander held a deep seeded love for every Gathon. He became attached to them, breaking every emotional rule of being a battlefield doctor. He possessed a gentle core that few rarely saw. To his patients, he seemed detached from them, but it was all just a facade that hid his true compassionate nature. He had just the right amount of balance between doing whatever it took to save someone as a function of his programming, even if the method was extreme, and caring about that being while he did it.

Ander was good at what he did and he knew it. He possessed a deep sense that he could improve or prolong Beryllian lives immeasurably. All they needed to do was just listen to him and follow his instructions exactly. Therein lied the source of his problems, as nobody ever listens to their doctor. That's why he was so rough with his patients. He had ways to make them listen, or, in the very least, make them wish they had listened.

If Zerra had never bonded, she was certain that she could have come to love this mech. She found that she was comfortable in that admission to herself. She truly loved and held dearly to Gren, but he was now gone, through events that neither one of them had any control over. She would never dishonor his memory and she would probably lose her life because of his loss, but she knew, without a doubt, that if circumstances presented themselves, he would not want her to be forced to die alone.

None of this was what she ever wanted, but this was where she was and she never imagined that she would find herself falling for a Gathon.

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Ander felt...warm. It was a soothing warmth that permeated his entire being. He knew he was recovering from an energy dump, but he never felt this good after having done so before. In fact, he didn't recall ever feeling good at all after a full energy transfer.

He drew the source of the warmth closer to his frame, then felt warm caressing digits on his face-plates.

"Ander, you fool," he heard a voice say. It was cold, biting even, but the presence within it was warm.

The warm presence had a warm frame and he pulled it ever closer to himself, sighing softly, contentedly, as an audio brushed across his mouth-plates.

"You comfortable?" the voice asked next, a twinge of sarcasm behind it.

Ander's optics snapped open in a moment of recognition, his disorientation dissolving in a rush of sobriety.

He released her immediately. "Quantus," he chastised himself before saying, "Zerra, I'm sorry."

He made a motion to sit up and then realized that they were still attached, dizziness threatening him as he hadn't fully recovered from the transfer.

"It's okay," Zerra assured. "Lay back down. You're going to offline yourself."

Extreme embarrassment for snuggling against her so shamelessly poured through the connection.

Zerra raised her optic ridges at him, "Don't be so embarrassed. I was feeding the feeling." A mischievous smile graced her mouth-plates as he ascertained that she had accessed a pleasure center to make him feel nice and warm when he woke up.

"You were what?" Ander wasn't sure whether to be ecstatic that the full integration and energy transfer helped her or angry for the violation.

He immediately disconnected from her central processor to keep any thoughts away from her.

"Damn you and your Gathon honor," she snapped, her central processor connection to him coming free as well.

"It's not about honor, Zerra," Ander replied. "It's about trust."

They glared at each other for a long moment. She didn't regret making him feel good, and he found that he didn't really regret it either. He just didn't know how to handle these feelings he was having towards her, towards a bonded mech. Sure, her core-mate was dead, but she was still bonded. He knew what she couldn't give him.

A spasm wracked her systems and she winced as the pain spiked beyond what Ander was capable of blocking with the current code. The doctor in him kicked in again and he dove through the connection; scanning, analyzing, searching until he found the source to re-write the code. 

"Better?" he asked, once her shaking subsided.

She simply nodded, watching him as he struggled with his emotions. He was afraid of losing her, yet he knew the inevitable.

As soon as he was sure that she was stable and he had recovered enough not to feel dizzy every time he sat up, he went to disconnect their data cables.

"I should go check on Bazin and Miaxa," he said softly, though he knew Zerra could see through the connection that it was just an excuse. 

She clapped her hand over the integrated cabling, effectively keeping him from breaking the connection.

"No, wait," she said, quickly stamping down a slight sense of panic.

They were too integrated for Ander not to catch it. She really needed to feel someone close, some assurance that she wasn't alone, just to have someone to be there with her, on the inside and outside of her being.

"Please stay," she said, a bit more composed this time. "Just for a little while. I would," she hesitated, "really like the company."

Ander nodded, leaving the connection in place as he pulled her hand to his chest. Laying back down, he didn't say anything and just held her.

Zerra wasn't alone. She wouldn't be alone again for as long as she lived.

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Kyndra Hatch is the author of 'The Stranger,' a science fiction romance short story published in "Tales from the SFR Brigade." 'The Stranger' was the 2014 SFR Galaxy Award winner for Outstanding Debut Story.

 

You can find more short stories by Kyndra Hatch on QuarterReads at:
https://quarterreads.com/writer.php?id=13






Prize details: Grand Prize: $75 gc + 16 ebooks 2nd runner up: $25 gc + 12 ebooks 3rd runner up: $25 gc + 8 ebooks Rafflecopter a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Alliances by S. Usher Evans Blog Tour

About the Book

Lyssa Peate has found a tenuous balance between her double lives - the planet-discovering scientist and space pirate bounty hunter named Razia. No longer on probation, Razia still struggles to be thought of as more than a chocolate-fetching joke, and Lyssa can’t be truthful to those closest to her. But both lives are turned upside-down when feisty government investigator Lizbeth Carter shows up to capture the same pirate Razia is after.

Lizbeth’s not interested in taking Razia’s thunder; rather, she convinces the caustic bounty hunter to help solve a mystery. Somebody’s hiring pirates to target government ships, and there’s a money trail that doesn’t make any sense. From the desert planet of D-882 to the capital city on S-864, the investigation leads them deeper and deeper into a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of the Universal Government - and to one of the most painful chapters in Lyssa’s past. Purchase on Amazon

 

Preview from Chapter One:

The room was dark, with a single, dingy lamp hanging over a table where three men sat, each holding a hand of cards. They said little, except for the occasional grunt or movement to tap their grungy mini-computers to up their ante. The first sighed and rubbed the scruff around his chin. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette and a lighter.

"You hear that Llendo is running for re-election?" he said, cigarette dangling from his mouth.
"What else is new?" The short, squatty man and whose toes barely brushed the floor, threw a few chips into the virtual pile using his mini-computer. "The guy’s a puppet. There ain’t nothin’ that comes out of his mouth that ain’t been sent through the ringer about a million times."

The other two men chuckled and shuffled around their cards. The third man, with a long face and sallow complexion, pulled two more cards for his own hand and shuffled them together and apart again.

"But who else is there to vote for?" he asked, counting his cards and stacking them together again.

"That general? You know that buffoon Peate works for him. He ain't getting my vote until I know he's gonna play along."

The second shrugged and said, "Nobody’d vote for him in a million years."
"You and your millions." The third rolled his eyes. "Everything you say has been done a million times."

"Bah, can it," the first barked. "And hurry up and make your move."
"I'm taking my time. Don't want to get fleeced again," the third said. "You're all a bunch of crooks."

"Takes one to know one." The second man peered at his cards through a pair of thick glasses, hunched over.

"I am retired," the first man said, sitting back and taking a long drag of his cigarette. "None of that piracy crap for me anymore. Getting too dangerous for me."

"Gonna break a nail?" the second snorted. "Bad enough you got that girl. Whatsherface."

"I hear she's doing all right," the third said. "Kidnapped Jukin Peate's brother and held him for ransom last year."

"And what's she done since then?" the second said.

"More than you've done."

"I'm just saying, it's unnatural to have a woman out with the men," the first said. He paused for a moment and began to smile. "Although I can't say I hate seeing her scamper around '882."

"Shame she doesn't wear tighter pants," the second said. "I seen pictures. She wears these baggy things. I bet if she wore something that made her look like a girl, she wouldn't even have to fight nobody."

"She could come capture me any day of the week. I don't care what she looks like," the third said. "I'd lay down and let her do whatever she wanted to me."

"Care to test that theory?"

The three glanced up sharply at the sound of a distinctly female voice in the doorway.

"Hey, hey," the first man said, standing up. "We don't want no trouble. We're retired here, lady."

"You are," Razia said, stepping into the light with a smirk on her face. She turned her eyes on the third man in the room. "He isn't."

About the Author

S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in a small, suburban town in northwest Florida, she was seventeen before she realized that not all beach sand is white. From a young age, she has always been a long-winded individual, first verbally (to the chagrin of her ever-loving parents) and then eventually channeled into the many novels that dotted her Windows 98 computer in the early 2000's. After high school, she got the hell outta dodge and went to school near the nation's capital, where she somehow landed jobs at National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and the British Broadcasting Corporation, capping off her educational career with delivering the commencement address to 20,000 of her closest friends. She determined she'd goofed off long enough with that television nonsense and got a "real job" as an IT consultant. Yet she continued to write, developing 20 page standard operating procedures and then coming home to write novels about bounty hunters, teenage magic users, and other nonsense. After a severe quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided to finally get a move on and share those novels with the world in hopes that she will never have to write another SOP again.

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